Mike’s 2006-2007 Project Archives

On this page you will find a collection of my personal and professional creative projects — one and all a labor of love.

2007-01: Cumbrowski Template
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View image of Cumbrowski Template

A template was needed for a massive internet marketing and SEO site. The client was knowledgeable about XHTML mark-up, PHP, and CSS, but they hired me anyway because they wanted to make sure it was accessible and very solidly made. It made sense to me: A good house requires a good foundation, and from what I was told and what I saw, this client had a mansion which was going to be resting and relying upon what I built.

I went with a liquid layout as the client informed me that they’d not only be having a ton pf pages, but that each page would need room of lots of “stuff.” I created styles for just about anything they’d likely need. As this is being written the client has the template and is in the progress of putting it all together. I haven’t gotten the help me call yet so things must be going smoothly. The client knows web development so I may not hear anything at all. I did keep the mark-up uncluttered and well commented so it should be pretty manageable to someone in the know. Like all my work, this site template is extremely accessible.

Need a template? This template is available restyled to suit your needs and tastes. To learn more, please Contact me.

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2006-12: Gallery XYZ Demo
Launch: Gallery XYZ Demo Live Site »

Visit Gallery XYZ Demo

What was requested was a gallery that was super clean, light-colored, and classy. Its purpose, to showcase various paintings in oil, acrylic, even some pastels. The gallery was to consist of three pages: a splash page, a gallery, and a page for various blog links. The gallery page was to contain no fancy stuff like transparencies and such, just the thumbnails and when clicked a full-size image and controls, and nothing else to distract the viewer. To me it seemed like it was going to be a fun project.

I first had to find a gallery so I wouldn’t waste time reinventing the wheel. Then I remembered the easyAlbum made by a friend of mine, Thierry Koblentz. It’s accessible and pretty slick. From there I built the template and brought all the elements together. I was really feeling good about this project. The client wanted to edit the files in Dreamweaver to I didn’t have to worry about a back-end or fancy scripting. I think I nailed it based on the client’s list. Unfortunately he really didn’t like it. I’m not sure if it’ll ever go live aside from being right here.

Need a gallery? This gallery application is available restyled to suit your needs and tastes. To learn more, please Contact me.

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2006-12: Buildsheet Blog
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View image of Buildsheet Blog

This is another SeaBeast Theme-related project — sort of. Essentially it is a new WordPress theme using the SeaBeast structure, but this is a “SB Lite” version without the configuration. It’s much cleaner and has to be as it will be extensively modified. I should also note that this is installed on a WordPressµ or MultiUser “MU” platform.

Another feature is my WP Contact Form, but a special version being called “v.2.0WPM” — the “M” standing for Multi. This is not a free version of the contact form (Contact me for pricing). It’s special because with it the WordPress admin can enter several name and email address combination and the form user can select a department or user to send the form to. It’s pretty neat.

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2006-12: Celebrity Dog Watcher Blog
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View image of Celebrity Dog Watcher Blog

This is yet another project built upon the SeaBeast Theme with some modifications, customizations, and plug-ins like my WP Contact Form. I enjoy making these theme variants because the base theme is so stable, accessible, and well-focused on SEO. Moreover, doing them more frequently keeps me as one with the theme and that ties in directly with a higher quality next release.

This is a pretty cool blog: It’s all about celebrities and their four-legged canine friends. They investigate snd get the real, um… poop, so-to-speak. It was originally using the Beast Blog Theme theme, now it has moved the beast to the sea.

Note: I have stopped offering restyles of this theme in favor of my new and improved Beast-Blog v.2.0.

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2006-12: Foreclosure Mate Blog
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View image of Foreclosure Mate Blog

This project is another SeaBeast Theme customization project with some modifications to allow more user interaction in regards allowing visitors to register and post their foreclosure experiences. Additionally a custom form was created to allow users to request foreclosure assistance — in addition to the regular contact form. The theme was also modified to have an even sharper SEO focus and offer advertising; to this end the theme will have four scripts for displaying random ads in specific locations. It also features static home page portions.

It seems like it’ll be an interesting site that I will hopefully never need in my lifetime. Like the original SeaBeast theme, this site is built to exacting standards and it quite accessible.

Note: I have stopped offering restyles of this theme in favor of my new and improved Beast-Blog v.2.0.

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2006-12: Cryptomundo Blog
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View image of Cryptomundo Blog

What do you call people who study Sasquatch, the Loch Ness monster, the giant octopus, the Tibetan Yeti, and other creatures that cast their shadows from the unknown? Cryptozoologists, of course. And if this was previously a mystery, Cryptozoologists are bloggers too. As for their blogging platform, WordPress is preferred, and using the SeaBeast Theme is a natural fit. Or should I say unnatural?

Attracted to the name, the style, and most notably the quality, I was approached by such a group and tasked with taking my SeaBeast theme and make it their own by restyling it with some custom images and a handful of plugins. Some of the plugins created challenges but the end result is one everyone was happy with. If they ever doubted my ability to satisfy their needs, they are now believers!

Note: I have stopped offering restyles of this theme in favor of my new and improved Beast-Blog v.2.0.

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2006-11: 2007 Green Methods Catalog
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View image of 2007 Green Methods Catalog

Creating an annual catalog for my mail order company (site is GreenMethods.com) is something I’ve been doing for fifteen-plus years. It’s one of the reasons I don’t like print work as much as I do web work: burn out. That said, once it’s done I can breathe a sigh of relief. That’s what I’m doing now as my company’s catalog is now in the hands of the printer and off of my ever-expanding to-do plate. This also means I can get back to doing more web work — which means do the three jobs that are currently in my in-box. I’ve been taking on smaller jobs and trying to keep up with my various projects, MikeCherim.com experiments, and blogging at Beast-Blog and Accessites.org, but now I can get back into custom builds and the larger stuff such as an up-and-coming e-commerce project.

This catalog — for which you can only view the cover here — was designed using Fireworks and Adobe’s InDesign which is top-shelf professional desktop publishing software. For years I used Adobe’s PageMaker until until they came out with InDesign to take its place. PageMaker was good but InDesign is better so I made the switch. The cover is four-color full-process and the guts use a single color. The publication, not including the four cover pages is 48 pages or 6 “signatures” (groups of 8 pages in this case). The finished size is 8.5 x 5.5 inches with a cover of 60# cover-stock and 60# offset inner pages. I use a bleeds throughout.

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2006-09: MyrnaMunroue.org
Launch: MyrnaMunroue.org Live Site »

Visit MyrnaMunroue.org

Referrals are great, and that’s how I got this project. I was referred by the directors of the St. Pete Beach Community Center. The Myrna Munroe Foundation for Disadvantaged Children is a great organization in west-central Florida. They host events and provide grants to organizations that provide services, charity, and relief for the area’s disadvantaged children. They had no online presence but really needed one, hence, thanks to the referral, they came to me. Their budget was limited but even though I’m way up in New Hampshire, I decided to help their cause myself by offering them a huge discount on my services. It was my pleasure to work with them and they were in-turn delightful to serve. I provided a fast turn-around and they were very pleased with my efforts.

The site is clean and simple on the surface but quite detailed in the areas of accessibility and usability. It’s written to the XHTML 1.0 Strict DTD, uses CSS for styles and positioning, and is highly accessible — I went all out and made it meet the Priority 2 level at the very least. While graphically simple, its liquid layout may be one of my better works. My projects do, however, get better and better all the time as I learn and grow as an accessible web developer. I’m quite happy with the site and the project in general, and the foundation’s directors are equally pleased. A win-win situation.

Need a template? This template is available restyled to suit your needs and tastes. To learn more, please Contact me.

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2006-08: Blogging for Beginners Cover
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View image of Blogging for Beginners Cover

For fifteen-plus years I’ve been designing book covers, catalogs, business cards, flyers, posters, and other print media — even complete corporate identity packages. This is one such job; a book cover actually. I don’t solicit this type of work because after all these years the love has been lost a bit, but every once in a while, if someone knows that I actually do this type of work, I will produce a project. This one is a cover for an up-and-coming book called “Blogging for Beginners” by British writer and blogger Margaret Stead. It may be a good read but I haven’t yet seen the content or read the book so I cannot say for sure.

I produced this cover in three formats/sizes. The one you’ll see when following the link above is a low-quality sample image (please don’t judge it as you see it). I also produced a good-quality image to show the client my handiwork when it was completed. I cannot show you a link to this image because it’s huge and measured in megabytes — a business card is nearly 600 pixels wide. The printer’s version is in TIFF or Tagged Image File Format and is several megabytes in size as well. Moreover, TIFF imagery cannot be viewed on the web. The sample image you’ll see, though, will give you a rough idea of what the cover will look like.

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2006-08: Scott Alarm Blog
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View image of Scott Alarm Blog

I haven’t had the time to take on any sizable projects lately, but when a fellow developer, David Zemens of Stoney Creek Web Design, came to me with an urgent built request for a WordPress theme, I put down the myriad projects I have been doing and lent him a hand. He had been building the web site for a while and was getting ready to launch it as it was finally complete. The client, however, had a different idea: they suddenly decided they wanted a web log. David, knowing I am knowledgeable with WordPress, decided it would be in the client’s best interest to have me make the theme so it would marry well and work with his existing design (a really great looking site).

I got to work right away. He needed it fast. I started with a fresh build and hand-coded it from that, first changing the DTD to XHTML 1.0 strict, then creating a fresh CSS. I used David’s images as that seemed like the smartest way to go and focused on layout and some PHP scripting to make the navigation seamless and simple. It worked out well and I actually finished the project a day ahead of schedule. Overall it was an enjoyable project that went very smoothly. I needed a break anyway. For a while I’ve been quite busy with a number of tasks, most notably a new version of my >GreenBeast CMS (discontinued), so making a WordPress theme was a nice diversion. Thanks David!

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2006-06: TruckMovers Site
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View image of TruckMovers Site

It began as a vague project. The client wanted a template on which they could build a new site for their company. They requested a template that had a lot of incorporated SEO, and they wanted it to be standards-compliant and accessible. Since I’m knowledgeable about all of these things I got the job. Unfortunately, for everything they knew they wanted, there were two things they weren’t sure about. From a design perspective they wanted a template that had the Web 2.0 “look,” even though Web 2.0 isn’t about a certain look. They weren’t sure about much else. I should have insisted since they had something in mind. It never occurred to me they were shaky of the Web 2.0 thing; my contact seemed quite savvy, enough to ask that accessibility be addressed for one thing, and that says a lot. None of this bothered me; it was sort of typical. Risky, perhaps, but of common. Normally, when given creative license, I pull it off and my clients are impressed and happy. It’s what I’m paid to do.

Since they wanted a Web 2.0 template design so I decided a liquid layout was by far the best way to go especially with all the viewing sizes available nowadays (and I backed it up with a handheld and a print CSS just to be extra safe). The rest I was wide-open (though no truck images oddly). I then took their trademark orange and matched it to a deep blue and black and white. The end result was good to me, though changes could have been easily made (the hard part was done). Long story short, though, the client didn’t like it. They wanted rounded boxes and reflective gel buttons. To them that is Web 2.0. I wish I knew that. Unfortunately, and most distressing thing to me, I wasn’t afforded a chance to make some changes and make good on the project. It would have been a piece of cake to style it differently and add some roundness and other trendy stuff. That is the beauty of playing with CSS and images: One template can make 10,000 different web sites.

Need a template? This template is available restyled to suit your needs and tastes. To learn more, please Contact me.

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